Finance Committee unanimously passes new proposed budget 
Tax rate drops from $1.99 to $1.95

BY ASHLEY HAYNES - Special to The Freeman

Nov. 10, 2017

WAUKESHA - Months in the making, the 2018 Waukesha County budget, with a total tax levy of $103,422,375 was officially adopted by the Finance Committee Wednesday morning.

The committee was able to begin drafting the proposed budget alongside County Executive Paul Farrow in a collaborative process. The biggest change in the new budget is a $250,000 amendment that was approved by all Finance Committee members. A quarter of a million dollars will be moved from the Other Revenue category into the appropriated General Fund Balance so that a hedge is added in case interest rates do not continue to increase.

Two other amendments proposed by county supervisors did not make it into next year’s budget. The first, a proposal from Jennifer Grant, suggested an increase of $50,000 to the Sheriff’s Department Jail program for 10 months of funding for a new correctional officer. The action was defeated with a 3-3 vote. The second proposed amendment from Ted Wysocki also dealt with the Sheriff’s Department and sought an increase of $100,000 for the funding of correctional officer salary and benefits. It was also defeated 3-3.

There is a 1.52 percent ($1,605,648) increase in the total county tax levy from last year’s budget. The total county tax levy is comprised of two parts, the General Tax Levy and the Federated Library Tax Levy. The tax levy capital projects budget, $1,747,000, also remains unchanged when compared to last year’s numbers.

The General County tax rate will decrease 2.23 percent from 2017. The dollar amount per thousand dollars of home value will be $1.95 compared to last year’s $1.99. The owner of a home worth $250,000 would pay $488 in taxes, and a home worth $100,000 would have $190 in taxes.

An update on the county’s general fund balance was also provided by Director of Administration Norm Cummings. The fund balance will be at $35,315,199 for 2018, which is 17.3 percent of the $204,435,971 total expenditures for the year. The county maintains an unrestricted fund balance to provide necessary working capital and to avoid cash flow interruptions and short-term borrowing. The unrestricted fund balance also helps to fund daily operations and maintain the county’s AAA bond rating. The money can help in case of an emergency, such as the 2008 stock market crash. Ideally, the fund balance should hover around 15 to 16 percent of the total budgeted expenditures.

The Waukesha County Board is schedule to take action on the proposed budget at Tuesday’s meeting.